State v. Patrick William Casey

44 P.3d 756 (2002)

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State v. Patrick William Casey

Utah Supreme Court
44 P.3d 756 (2002)

  • Written by Tanya Munson, JD

Facts

M.R. was sexually abused by Patrick William Casey (defendant). In 1999, the state of Utah (plaintiff) charged Casey with the first-degree felony of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. Several weeks after the preliminary hearing, the state prosecutor communicated to the mother of M.R. that Casey had requested a plea bargain. M.R.’s mother then met with the prosecutor and was assured that the first-degree felony charge would not be reduced because of the strong evidence of guilt compiled against Casey. Nevertheless, the prosecutor offered to Casey to reduce his first-degree felony charge to lewdness involving a child, a class A misdemeanor, in exchange for a guilty plea. M.R.’s mother contacted the prosecutor and was told to attend the change-of-plea hearing to voice her opinions on the proposed plea. At the change-of-plea hearing, M.R.’s mother informed the prosecutor that she wished to make a statement to the court, but the prosecutor did not inform the court of this. M.R.’s mother made no statement, and the court accepted the guilty plea. M.R.’s mother, acting on behalf of M.R., obtained counsel and filed a motion for a misplea and a motion to reject the plea bargain. The prosecutor and Casey filed motions to strike M.R.’s pleadings, arguing that M.R. lacked standing as a nonparty to the criminal proceeding. The district court did not rule on whether M.R. had standing and held Casey’s sentencing hearing. At the start of the hearing, M.R.’s counsel moved the court to set aside the plea, arguing that M.R. had the right to be heard. M.R. and M.R.’s mother testified that the court should reject the plea bargain. The court decided to informally reopen the plea hearing to accept the testimony from M.R. and M.R.’s mother. Despite the testimony, the court reaffirmed the plea at the class A level and dismissed M.R.’s motions. Casey was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Durrant, J.)

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